Congratulations you are going to be, or have recently become a dad! If you are anything like I was when I first learned I had a baby on the way you are; nervous, scared, a little excited, unsure what all this means and maybe you want to throw up a little.
If I could give you one piece of advice it would be this; have your last child first. I was so clueless when Simeon was born. I had never held a baby, never changed a diaper, and I really believed that burp cloths would catch all of the spit up. By the time Asher was born I was used to the late nights, the spit up, and the dirty diapers. I am without a doubt a better dad now than I was when my first son was born in 2009.
Since you can’t follow that piece of advice one dad to another allow me to pass on some advice you could follow;
1. Read a Little, But Not Too Much- There are lots of blogs, articles, and books out there about parenting. Many of them are wonderful, some of them are not. You need to read just enough that you have some idea of what to do, but not so much that you suffer from information over load. A book a really liked was, ‘Baby’s Owner Manual’
2. If Possible Take Some Vacation When The Baby Is Born- To be clear you are not ON vacation, but trust me it will be good for you to be home for a few weeks. Most of the stuff that had to get done around the house before the baby arrives still needs to get done PLUS you have a baby now. Having all hands on deck at home means things move a little smoother.
3. Don’t Be Afraid Of Your Baby- I was afraid of my son when he was first born. I was afraid I would drop him, I was afraid I would wake him up, I was afraid he would poop on me and on and on I could go. Not to put too fine a point on it but get over it. The only way you will become more comfortable in your new role as a dad is to get in there and be a dad. Poop be darned.
4. Filter The Advice You Receive- I recognize the irony in this piece of advice, but never the less I tell it to all new parents. I was buried by advice from people when we were expecting our first child. Some of it was helpful; a lot of it was not. Some of it was solicited; most of it was not. My rule of thumb is, the more eager a person is to share unsolicited advice the less likely I am to follow it.
5. Find A Few Dad’s Your Admire- If you are only going to take one piece of advice from this list make it this one. Find a few dad’s that you connect with and find some time to sit down with them for a coffee every so often to talk about being a dad. When I first became a dad what I really needed was to talk with some other guys that were further along than I was so they could to me that everything was ok, that being a dad was hard, that what I was thinking and feeling was common and that I would make it. I find that mom’s tend to do this kind of support a little more naturally than dads. As a new dad if you want some support and mentorship, and trust me you could use it, you will have to go looking for it.
Let me say congratulations again in becoming a dad. It is a great thing to be, I am rooting for you!